Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) This is probably the most obvious flower that you will see at this time of year. It does in fact flower in nearly every month of the year.

However partly because there are not so many other flowers about in March, partly because it is very showy and partly because it produces more flowers in this month and April than in any other months, it is therefore my choice for this month.

Dandelions are what is known as Compositae flowers, which as it’s name suggests means that it is a composite flower, so it is really not one flower but lots of little flowers all scrunched up together. If you pull one apart you will find that it is lots of flowers not just one. Many flowers have this system, and it is developed somewhat in the daisy and the sunflower where the outer flowers are sterile having just one big petal to attract the insects.The middle flowers have the sexy bits with tiny petals  and the individual flowers are yellow due largely to the pollen.

If you look carefully at my photo of the Dandelion you will see the beginnings of this with the outer flowers having longer petals and the more central ones having smaller petals and you can see the stamens and stigmas in this region.

You might know this, but in case you don’t dandelion comes from the French, Dent de Lion, as it’s leaves are jagged and vaguely resemble lions’ teeth. The French call it Pissenlit, because you can eat the young leaves in a salad, they are bitter like Chicory and they have a diuretic property which can cause young children to wet the bed.

The seed head also points up that this is a composite flower as each seed has developed from one small flower and this then results in the familiar circle of seeds we see later in the year.